Book Reviews: Models by Mark Manson

Published in Books / Dating and Relationships - 3 mins to read

Thirteen days into the year and I have already read more books in 2019 than I did in 2018. I'm not quite on track for reading 52 books in a year, but it's a good start.

I have actually already read Models, about 2.5 years ago, and I can confidently say it changed my life. It provided the slap in the face I needed to finally cut off someone incredibly toxic in my life, by providing a blueprint for what a healthy, mutually fulfilling relationship should look like.

While ostensibly a book about dating, the premise of its advice could be boiled down to 'if you improve yourself as a person, it will have the convenient side effect that women will be more attracted to you'. This might seem obvious, but the point Manson makes is that many men, when lamenting their romantic misfortune, focus too much on irrelevant details, like when to text a girl, whether or not to be mean to her, whether or not to pay for dinner etc. If you want to be luckier in love, then Manson prescribes a diet of self improvement: work on your insecurities and your anxieties, take an interest in the world around you, be confident in your intentions and actions.

Upon first read, I was fairly enamoured with 100% of the content in this book, however with a couple more years of wisdom and experience (and of self-improvement) there are some things I am not so sure about anymore. Written in 2011, at one point the author references writing in a 'post-feminist age', but that landscape has shifted significantly, so perhaps the book needs updating to include post-post-feminist thinking. The chapter about sex (as in, what to do when you're actually between the sheets) was in my opinion, unnecessarily graphic. Figuring out what to put where is half the fun, and learning to communicate with an intimate partner is something that I have no desire to learn about from a book - even if the author of said book has had sex with infinitely more women than I have.

With that being said, there are a lot of things I still love about Models. Its stated aim is to provide a model for modern masculinity (hence the title), and by and large I think it does a good job. It offers practical, no nonsense advice for overcoming one's anxieties and growing in confidence. All of the commentary on the psychology of romance and attraction is at least plausible, even if there are frequent mentions of wholly uncited research.

Naturally, it's a self help book, so the million dollar question is whether or not it helped me - and the answer is yes, I think it did. There's a lot I will take away from Models and apply to my day to day life. Even reading it made me feel more confident - its emphasis on honesty and genuine expression, rather than trying to say certain things or act a certain way, felt like it was giving me permission to be myself and worry less about what everyone else thinks. It wasn't as life-changing as my first read, which hopefully is a sign that I have matured as a person in the interim, but it was worth it nonetheless. A solid 7/10.

Books read this year: 1/52

Next book: Notes from Underground by Fyodor Dostoevsky

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